Best traffic analysis programs for your blog

If you are into blogging seriously and hope to become a professional blogger, then you should analyze your traffic regularly. Regular traffic analysis helps you a in knowing what kind of effect your posts are making on your readers. It helps you in understanding the topics your readers are interested.  A keen observation and wise decisions will surely add your name to the list of the best bloggers.

Traffic analysis is a very difficult job and I’m sure that most of us are not interested in it. Fortunately, there are several services available, which allows us to analyze site traffic with detailed reports and convenient graphs.

  • Google Analytics

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    Managed by Google, this is one of the best available web traffic analysis service. The best thing about Google Analytics is that it is free. In my opinion, Google Analytics is the best traffic analysis service that is free. Analytics allows you to manage unlimited number of websites from your account.
    Installation of Analytics on your site is as simple as adding a piece of Javascript code on your website. There are a number of WordPress plugins for Analytics available which requires only your Analytics account ID, and thus save you the trouble of editing your theme. I too have created a highly configurable Analytics plugin for Word Press, which allows you to locally host the urchin.js file and periodically update it.
    Pros:

    • Indepth reports with detailed graphs.
    • Ecommerce tracking is possible.
    • Option to export the stat reports to a number of formats.

    Cons:

    • Real-time tracking is not possible. . The reports are updated several times a day, but still it gets delayed by several hours.
    • Detailed report about single visits is not available
    • Customer support limited to Help center and support group
  • StatCounter

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    If you too hate Google after their latest PageRank update [1, 2, 3], and do not want to use their service anymore, then StatCounter is your second best option (Is it a coincidence that StatCounter lost its PageRank from 10 to 6 in the latest update?). The reports are not as detailed as the ones provided by Google Analytics.
    Pros:

    • Stats are updated in realtime.
    • Detailed report about last 500 visits is available.
    • Ability to display a visible counter on your webpage.

    Cons:

    • The reports are not as flexible as Google Analytics.
    • Free account control panel is ad supported.
    • E-commerce tracking and tracking of visitors over multiple domains is not possible.
  • Mint

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    Unlike Google Analytics and StatCounter, Mint is a hosted traffic analysis program written in PHP and MySQL. Also Mint is not free and costs $30. Mint provides very detailed realtime details of your site traffic. But since the program is hosted on your server which may not be dedicated servers with load balancing, it can cause heavy server loads for high traffic websites. I have never used Mint, but have heard very Good reviews about Mint from several sources. If you have a medium traffic website and can spend $30, then this is the best software for real time tracking. I recommend using Mint along with Google Analytics, so that you will be having access to detailed realtime reports from Mint and comprehensive and detailed long term statistics from Google Analytics.
    Pros:

    • Stats are updated in realtime.
    • Very simple and nice interface.
    • Ability to extend and enhance the functionality of Mint by using plugins(called Peppers).

    Cons:

    • It is not free.
    • The program needs to be installed on your server.
    • Requires Unix server with atleast MySQL 3.x and PHP 4.2.3.
    • Causes intensive server load on high traffic websites.
    • Lack of comprehensive reports and graphs.
  • FireStats

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    Like Mints, FireStats is also a hosted Traffic tracking program. But unlike Mint, FireStats is free for non-commercial use and costs $25 for commercial use. I have been using FireStats for the past few months. The reports are not as detailed as in Mint, but the development of FireStats is happening at a rapid pace. FireStats can be installed as a standalone version or as plugins for WordPress, WordPress MU, Joomla, Drupal, MediaWiki etc. For WordPress blogs, FireStats provides two widgets for displaying your traffic stats and popular posts. It also allows you to display the country, platform and browser details of your commentators next to their name. For non-commercial usages, I recommend using FireStats. But for commercial sites I recommend using Mint, because for the small difference in price you get a much detailed report.
    Pros:

    • Stats are updated in realtime.
    • Very easy integration with a number of programs like WordPress, WordPress MU, Joomla, Drupal etc.
    • Multi level access to reports.
    • Availability of widgets for displaying stats and popular posts.
    • Ability to show the country, platform and browser details of your commentators next to their name.

    Cons:

    • Not free for commercial use.
    • Requires atleast MySQL 4.0.17 with INODB support and PHP 4.4.2.
    • Provides only basic details.
    • Interface and usability is not as good as Analytics or Mint.

15 thoughts on “Best traffic analysis programs for your blog

  1. Hi Joyce

    Interesting to come across this post as I have recently reviewed a new service to rival GA in terms of detailed stats. It’s still in beta and is free and offers a great alternative for anyone unhappy about feeding Google even more data.

    I’ve been using the service for about a week now after removing Google Analytics from my sites. I Hope you don’t mind me providing a link for your readers here, hopefully it adds something useful to your list

    http://www.thecaymanhost.com/blog/item/free-alternatives-to-google-analytics

  2. Hi Joyce, once again, this is very useful. I’ll probably stick with Google Analytics for now, but I wouldn’t mind moving if I can find something which has most of the functionality and is free. I especially like the option to host it myself – so maybe FireStats will be an option for me. I’m not in a hurry, but I’ll have a look at this when time permits. Thanks!

    1. Thanks. I won’t project either Mint or FireStats as a replacement to Google Analytics. I prefer using a hosted script along with GA.

      The “Popular posts” widget on the side bar is powered by FireStats. I removed the country flag and system details of commentators, as I believe not all people will like to have it revealed.

  3. i used to hav firestat in my blog..but still i’m not satisfied..
    now i use getclicky.com seems like GA but it’s real time..the only cons is it’s not free for blog who have bigger than 1000 a day..and you can’t look the stat the day before..
    but it’s great stat program in my opinion.

    1. I recommended FireStats mainly because of the widgets available for WordPress. Further, it will be more accurate than any remote traffic analysis service.

      I have been trying MyRT (see the comment by Maurice above) for the past few days. Though I never had time to properly analyze its reports, it looks good.

    1. Awstats is a logfile analyzer. It analyzes your access log and error log to create its reports.
      Unfortunately, unless you have root access to your server, you can’t install the program. You will have to request your webhost to do it for you.

  4. Glad you’ve decided to give MyRT a test run Joyce, I’m quite liking it so far.

    AW Stats is provided by many hosting companies including my own, but it hugely overstates true visitor numbers. It’s still good for checking on keyword search terms and other interesting data but if you think you are getting as many visitors as it suggests you’ll be sorely disappointed if you check it against something like GA or the others mentioned here.

  5. I got as many good ideas for stat tracking from the comments as I did from your article. I’m going to look into FireStats for my WP blogs, since I am unsure as to how much I can trust my StatCounter. And, like a lot of other people, Google creeps me out. Their own thrist for power gives me the heebie jeebies.

    1. That is the reason why many people have moving away from Google. They are trying to control the internet. But I think it will be foolish to opt out GA, as IMO it is the best stats program.

  6. Hi Joyce,

    I’m AuriQ Systems’ marketing director – we provide the myRT analytics service (for those of you reading this tread it’s http://myrt.auriq.com ) Thanks for trying out myRT. I hope that it has satisfied all of your requirements. I just want to mention it again (because that’s my job!) to keep in mind that myRT is real-time (actually that’s what the RT in myRT stands for!) and again, the service is completely free – and not ad supported, all you get is your stats. We are presently working on a new Flash interface, and if anyone has any suggestions please drop us a line. Also, you can try our line of free web analytics widgets called Visit Widgets, that sit on your page as a way of sharing your visitor info with your visitors at http://www.visitwidget.com – no sign up required. Finally, I’d like to thank Maurice again for mentioning us. If anyone has any questions on our service I’ll keep an eye on this thread.

    Best,
    Chad Catacchio
    Marketing Director
    AuriQ Systems

    1. Hi Chad,

      Thanks for your comment. Actually I was too busy and couldn’t checkout myRT again.

      A flash interface will be really cool. Also I would request for an API to access the site data, so that it can be used in other programs. Also a desktop application like GA Report will also increase your popularity.

      VisitWidgets look great. I will surely try them when I have time.

      1. Hi Joyce,

        Thanks for your feedback. Actually, we already have an API for partners, but it is not as of now part of our general offering. As far as a desktop reporting system goes, that is on the burner, but our development right now is focused on our new interface and on making new Visit Widgets (also in the future we may link Visit Widgets to myRT accounts which would work in a similar reporting way). Also on the burner are WordPress plugins. If you have any other suggestions, I’d really appreciate it, thanks!

        Best,
        Chad

        Marketing Director
        AuriQ Systems
        http://myrt.auriq.com
        http://www.auriq.com
        http://www.visitwidget.com

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